Rikki-Tikki-Tavi from The Jungle Book
Philosophical Viewpoints: Postcolonialism Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
"Good gracious," said Teddy's mother, "and that's a wild creature! I suppose he's so tame because we've been kind to him." (11)
The story sets up the British family as kind and generous people. But if we read the family as representing Britain's colonizing power in India, this view is, shall we say, a tad rose-tinted. (See the Sepoy War of 1857 for more.)
"There are more things to find out about in this house," [Rikki-tikki] said to himself, "than all my family could find out in all their lives. I shall certainly stay and find out." (14)
British civilization lures Rikki-tikki in. Hey, we like cool new gadgets too, but Rikki-tikki does act a bit like a cultural sell-out.
Then Rikki-tikki went out into the garden to see what was to be seen. It was a large garden, only half cultivated, with bushes as big as summer-houses […]. (18)
As we mention in our "Setting" section, the uncultivated aspect of the garden signifies the wilder nature of the Indian wilderness. Rikki-tikki's taming of it—of India —consists of the bulk of the conflict.